In 2018, the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, and New South Wales, Victorian and Western Australian state agencies commissioned the annual Australian Plastics Recycling Survey to capture the consumption and recycling of plastics in Australia during the 2017–18 financial year.
This information is collected through a detailed survey of Australian reprocessors, Australian resin manufacturers and importers, and extensive interrogation of Australian Customs data, sourced from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Green Industries SA performs its own survey of South Australian plastics reprocessors and material recovery facility operators, and the data from that survey is incorporated into this report.
The 2018 survey has been conducted by the partnership of Envisage Works and Sustainable Resource Use, and the survey results are aggregated and analysed within this report. This research started in 1997 and has been undertaken annually since 2000.
The survey provides a comprehensive picture of the consumption, flow, recovery and recycling of plastics in Australia, the state of reprocessing markets and assists in informing the status of product stewardship commitments in relation to plastic products. The survey is a valuable tool for promotion, knowledge of the industry and forward planning, including informing and tracking policies and programs to further improve plastics resource efficiency over whole of life.
- A total of 3.4 million tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia.
- A total of 320 000 tonnes of plastics were recycled, which is an increase of 10 per cent from the 2016-17 recovery.
- In 2017–18, the national plastics recycling rate was 9.4 per cent.
- Of the 320 000 tonnes of plastics collected for reprocessing, 145 700 tonnes (46 per cent) was reprocessed in Australia and 174 300 tonnes (54 per cent) was exported for reprocessing.